of a German invasion of Poland. The declaration issued on September 2,
I939j by M. Mudry, chairman of the Ukrainian Parliamentary Group
in the Polish Seym, reflected the same spirit.
While talking with Sikorski in December, 1941, in Moscow, Stalin had
assured him that his desire was to see a " strong and independent Poland."
He was afterwards to repeat this assurance many times. It was a slogan
which had been employed on other occasions, not only by the Bolsheviks
themselves, but by their predecessors on the Tsarist throne. Alexander I
had considered the restoration of an ' independent Poland * under his
sceptre. Each successive Russian Government was to repeat this same
slogan at the time of every historical crisis. In August, 1914, Tsar
Nicholas, through the medium of the Grand Duke Nicholas, the Russian
C.-in-C., had issued a proclamation promising to unite the Polish people
" under the sceptre of the Russian Emperor " in a restored Poland,
" free in language, self-government and faith." " Russia believes," he
continued, " that the sword has not rusted which at Grunwald struck
down the Teutonic enemy."*
The Austrians and Prussians in 1916 had also pledged their word
regarding a e free Poland/ while in the following year, on March 8, 1917,
the provisional Russian Government had renounced the Polish territories.
The same story was to be repeated many times by the Red Government,
The slogan of a c strong Poland * had also been constantly proclaimed by
Hitler practically from the moment of his ascension to power.f In 1941,
Stalin expressed the same sentiment, in direct contradiction to his previous
attitude in September, 1939, when Moscow had cried that: " Poland is
finished for all time." For Hitler a * strong Poland * could be used only
in one way, namely as a German dependency. Stalin by a * strong
Poland * had meant in December, 1941^ all its territories except for that
portion which he might perhaps be able to bargain from her, but later on
he was to consider thise strong Poland * merely in terms of her Western
territories, since he no longer admitted that the Eastern section belonged
to her. Thus, to the Kremlin, an * independent Poland' merely
meant a country independent from' Fascist or semi-Fascist Government';
from 'capitalists, lords, aristocrats and landowners/ just as the Republics
of the Soviet Union were c free.' This line of thought, so alien to the
mind of the Westerner, was natural to the Soviet leaders, and to those
people educated by them. On the basis of such reasoning Russia
* The Grunwald battle was fought near the lower Vistula,' on the territory
which, today, is East Prussia; here the power of the Teuton Knights had been
smashed by united Polish and Lithuanian force in 1410.
<41 For instance, in Hitler's speech in Reichstag, May 21st, 1935, he had said:
We recognise, with the understanding and the heartfelt friendship of true
nationalists, the Polish state as the home of a great, nationally-conscious nation."
The same words were repeated on March 7th, 1936, January 30th, 1937, February
20th, 1938, September 7th, 1938 and January 30th, 1939.